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Women's Football News
Manchester City will be playing Premier League football again next season after they produced a great run of results to climb out of the bottom two places in the Northern Division, despite a nightmare start to their campaign which saw them adrift at the bottom at Christmas.
The great form of Caroline Dixon played a major part in their escape from danger, the up-and-coming striker scoring 12 league goals including a run of eight in seven games as her team picked up some important victories. "It was a big relief when we knew we were safe," Caroline told Women's Soccer Scene. "We had a bad start to the season but we picked up after that. We won a few games and the belief came back again."
17-year-old Caroline, who is the youngest member of the City squad and is related to former Arsenal and England full back Lee Dixon, joined the club from Stockport during the summer and her goal tally is an impressive one in her first season of senior football, but the early weeks were difficult for the whole team. "We had a lot of new players at the start of the season and it took time for us to gel together," she admits. "As the season went on, we started to link the play up more, from defence to midfield to forwards, and everybody stepped up a gear towards the end."
Caroline also acknowledged the contributions of the defence in City's good run, as well as goalkeeper Sian Payne. The defensive pairing of Nikki Twohig and Alex Merrill also proved crucial when both were free of injury, as they kept five clean sheets during the vital closing matches, only conceding in their final match against Wolves.
Of the goals she scored, Caroline is in no doubt as to which was her favourite. "I scored two against my old club Stockport, one of which was a shot from near the halfway line so that was a bit special for me!" she laughs. "But I think the two I got against Coventry were probably the most important as it was a must-win game, and the 3-0 win probably kept us up."
Now City will be looking to improve on things next season and Caroline is optimistic about their chances. "It was a hard level this season, but the league table was so close from about fifth place downwards," she says, "We let in a lot of goals early in the season and it affected our goal difference, if that had been better we would have finished mid-table. Sunderland were the best team and they deserved to win it, and Wolves were strong and will be up there again next season.
"Now we are just getting ready for next season. We want some more players to come through and we can push up the table - our results were good after Christmas and if we carry on the way we ended, we'll do quite well. Everyone is looking to improve on this season.
"I set myself a target of 12 goals for this season and I scored 13 in total, so I am happy with the way it ended up. Next season I'll set a higher target and see how I can do."
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